Discourse on the intersections of politics, feminism, and motherhood.

Thursday, June 29

Athletics: A Corporation

An article in the New York Times today reveals how much investment some parents have in raising stellar athletes. An exceedingly large amount of early age preparation, including a hefty financial investment, goes into the child's athletic career. That 'career' of which starts with making the high-school team, is deemed by some as the kid's only chance at long-term success. To be completely honest this seems like an unrealistic concept that only has detrimental effects on the child. Playing a professional sport and making a huge salary doing it is relatively rare when compared to the amount of high-school and college athletes there are in this nation. Only the select chosen few rise to that kind of level. Sports camps and private sports training gyms are making a killing off these parental notions. Understandably, the rising cost of education is creating a more competitive landscape for athletic scholarships but this notion of the rising child athlete places misconceptions in the mind of the child as if educational performance is second in line when clearly a good all-encompassing educational experience is the best indicator for long-term success in college. Granted all kids develop at different stages and perform in many diverse ways, but many of the athletes I see at the university where I teach get a much better deal than other students. Plus the majority of scholarship money goes to male athletic sports and only those sports deemed as money making events for the university. Sports like wrestling get shoved off to the side as do sports like swimming. Girl athletes do not receive near the amount of athletic scholarships that males do. Perhaps, that is why more women now are graduating with degrees and are more often than males seeking higher academic degrees at alarming rates. Educators are questioning this discrepancy but not looking at the investment our culture has in male athleticism. 95% of the athletes on the football team are on scholarship but only 30% actually graduate with a degree. They are excused from class more often and are given separate make up exams according to their schedule. Some perform at expected levels academically but the vast majority just barely get by and are nothing but paid athletes for the university's team and do not even possess the bare minimum of academic skills to write a research paper. So.......your kid got a full ride to school but no degree......nice, how's that working long-term?


At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Kate said...

Makes me want to run out and sponsor a chess club.

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